When Diamondbacks president Derrick Hall peers out into the Chase Field crowd, he often sees throngs of fans donned in capes, boots and colorful lucha libre wrestling masks. Sometimes he even sees them in opposing ballparks, too.
He's heard of children in the Phoenix area wearing the same gear for Halloween, and he has seen YouTube videos of "Go D-Backs!" chants breaking out at local wrestling matches.
For the Diamondbacks, it's all a case of a promotion going wonderfully right.
Last season, as a way to appeal to the team's Hispanic fan base, the Diamondbacks gave away lucha libre masks—colorful masks traditionally worn by Mexican wrestlers—and later hosted their own lucha libre match.
The promotion drew such a resounding response that the Diamondbacks decided to do it again this year, giving away 20,000 new masks on July 27 against the Padres.
"It was great. We had over 30,000 (fans) for a Padres game on a weekend, and I would say it was really all due to the promotional mask giveaway," Hall said. "When we came up with the idea for the lucha libre mask last year, we weren't sure how it was going to do, but it was actually our most popular promotional item of the year."
The Diamondbacks have gone one step further this year, providing fans with their own real-life luchador (which translates to fighter in English) to rally behind.
Wearing a mask and tights in the official Diamondbacks red, accented by gold boots and the Diamondbacks' logo, the D-Backs Luchador joins the team's official mascot, D. Baxter the Bobcat, as a ballpark personality.
"The general market was probably confused as to him becoming the mascot at first: 'Why would they make him the mascot? What happened to Baxter?' " Hall said. "So we had to do a little explaining.
"Meanwhile, he has gained a lot of momentum from Twitter and his interaction around the ballpark and media interviews, and all of our Hispanic media, they just love they idea. They've fully embraced it."
New Marketing Approach
The D-Backs Luchador is more than just a character. He's a full-fledged luchador who wrestles with Club Deportivo Coloseo in Glendale—often in front of crowds of Diamondbacks fans.
"We actually auditioned people and interviewed people and did background checks, and he's an actual wrestler," Hall said. "We hired somebody who will represent us both in the general market as well as the Hispanic market, speaking both Spanish and English . . . He'll go out in the community as well."
The D-Backs Luchador isn't at every home game, but he was there for the lucha libre mask giveaway and will be there for similar events. He's also at the ballpark on select Sundays taking pictures with children, Hall said.
The masks and the introduction of the luchador character make up just one facet of a marketing approach directed at Hispanic fans. On Sept. 14, the Diamondbacks will host Hispanic Heritage Day, which includes a street festival and a giveaway of 20,000 Miguel Montero bobbleheads. On Sept. 15, the Diamondbacks will allow fans to complete their luchador costumes, handing out 5,000 capes to children.
"It's absolutely a goal of ours, and it's a priority, and it should be because it makes up more than 30 percent of our demographics in our market," Hall said. "And baseball is such a popular sport in the Hispanic market, and we have to communicate to them that it's a family sport. They're invited.
"You want everybody to enjoy D-Backs baseball, and that's such a big part of your community that you want to make sure they're coming out and enjoying the game as well."